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Secularism in the Renaissance - Admission/Application Essay Example

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Secularism in the Renaissance

Machiavelli's work celebrated the concept of secularism as a focus on humanism in the world. As Cal Jillson maintains, "In Europe, beginning with Nicolo Machiavelli early in the sixteenth century, attention began to shift from concentration on salvation to concentration on social, political, economic, and religious experiences of people Machiavelli concluded that one man, 'The Prince', would have to gather absolute political power into his hands to enforce social and political order. Order and safety, once established, would allow men to pursue their individual goals and interests." (Jillson, 8) Therefore, it is fundamental to realize that Machiavelli's work makes an essential contribution to the political theory of Renaissance and The Prince best illustrates the idea of secularism in the Renaissance and its effect on society in Western Europe.
In a profound exploration of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, it becomes lucid that the author strongly promoted a secular society based on individual freedom. His work is most remarkable for presenting an important view of governing a state which is radically contrasting to the views of other humanists of the period. "No one gave better expression to the Renaissance pre-occupation with political power than Niccolo Machiavelli His major concerns in The Prince were the acquisition and expansion of political power as the means to restore and maintain order in his time." (Spielvogel, 348) Therefore, it may be maintained that Machiavelli was concerned with the practical side of secularism and his work was an attempt to change the ideas of his contemporaries who were not concerned about how things are in real life. The Prince is generally regarded as one of the earliest works of modern philosophy and the author's main purpose is to deal with pragmatic concepts rather than teleological concepts. "My hope is to write a book that will be useful, at least to those who read it intelligently, and so I thought it sensible to go straight to a discussion of how things are in real life and not waste time with a discussion of an imaginary world For the gap between how people actually behave and how they ought to behave is so great that anyone who ignores everyday reality in order to live up to an ideal will soon discover he has been taught to destroy himself, not to preserve himself." (Machiavelli, 48) Thus, Machiavelli was opposed to the ethical side of a prince's activity, which maintained how the ruler should behave on the basis of Christian moral principles. Bluntly contradicting this distinguished approach to a prince's activities during the medieval period, Machiavelli maintained that the ruling Prince ought to be given the sole power to decide the various essential aspects of the state. "The Prince is a critique of the prevailing Medicean understanding of the art of the state" (Bondanella, xiv) and the work strongly promoted a secular society. Machiavelli regarded his approach to the responsibilities of a ruler far more realistic and effective than that of his medieval forebears. "Machiavelli was among the first to abandon morality as the basis for the analysis of political activity." (Spielvogel, 349)
Secularism, along with individualism, was the chief characteristic of the Italian Renaissance and a careful understanding of The Prince by ...Show more


Secularism has been one of the central characteristics of Italian Renaissance and it was most conspicuous in the intellectual and artistic realms of the society in Western Europe. Secularism during the Italian Renaissance period promulgated the idea that life in the world cannot be regarded as a mere preparation for eternity, as it is worthy of attention and respect in its own right…
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Secularism in the Renaissance essay example
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